Marketers have more data than ever before. But even with all the focus companies claim to give to the customer journey and simplifying the customer onboarding process, it’s still challenging to connect all the data points.

Intercom thinks it’s found a way to reduce the complexity. The company launched Smart Campaigns today, an iteration to its Engage marketing automation product.

Aligning Customer Needs With Use

Matt Hodges, senior director of product marketing, said the major differentiator is that it allows marketers to piece together a targeted campaign for groups of users without the web of links and dots that frequent so many software solutions.

“I've been in a room with onboarding campaigns, and the team sat in front of a whiteboard and started to map out the potential journeys and what happens here and there,” he said. “And you end up with this complex decision tree and it’s sophisticated and high level, but ultimately you’ve just been guessing.”

Some of that type of complexity was even present in Intercom’s product, which Hodges says has been greatly simplified with the latest iteration. Included are APIs which companies can use for creating even more specific campaigns or gleaning further insights about the customer base.

At issue is enabling marketers to send customized messages based on their behavior, sending them via mobile (push), in-app (mobile or web) or email. This allows a company to customize them according to needs that more closely align with their usage patterns.

Over 100 companies are currently beta testing the Smart Campaigns product, such as Bitly, DocSend and Slidebean.

“This is extremely helpful for businesses with subscription-based models where they can focus on making sure that everyone who signs up sees value and becomes an active customer,” Hodges said.

Founded in 2011, Intercom has about 250 employees in offices in San Francisco and Dublin. To date, it has raised about $116 million.

Staying Connected to Customers

Jose Cayasso, the CEO of New York City-based Slidebean, is a user of the Intercom campaigns. His company, which offers an online platform that designs and creates presentations on demand with user provided content, has 1,200 paid customers that need attention and assistance from his team. And that can’t always be done by a blanket email. 

Learning Opportunities

The other challenge is that small startups often don’t have the engineering resources to collect all the necessary data and create such specialized reminders and alerts to customers.

“It’s a huge difference in onboarding,” he said. “Once we bring aboard these users we can stay connected and they can take advantage of the tools we offer.”

Ilya Fushman, the former lead of Dropbox for Business and now a partner with Index Ventures, believes that customers need that continual outreach, even if it’s from a message that’s automated.

“The main issue is that customers, be they paid users or those undergoing a trial, still need communication,” he said. “At all parts of that journey there are moments where a business needs to communicate with its customers: this can be sent to you via an email, via chat, or can be sending you in-app notifications, messages, or ticketing interactions.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Ari Klein, the head of customer success for DocSend. The company offers analytics tools for tracking and monetizing sales materials. The best marketing tech allows you to really drill down into what you want to send to specific users, he said.

"The big challenge is always sending the right message to the right peers at the right time on a unique and individual basis for each user," he said.